Ricky Jovan Gray

  • DOC Number: 1100057.[1]
  • Inmate Number: 364382.[1]
  • Venue: City of Richmond.[2]
  • Victims:
    • Bryan Harvey.[3]
    • Kathryn Harvey.[3]
    • Stella Harvey.[3]
    • Ruby Harvey.[3]
  • Crimes:
    • Capital murder of Bryan Harvey (murder in the commission of robbery or attempted robbery).[3]
    • Capital murder of Bryan Harvey, Kathryn Harvey, Stella Harvey, and Ruby Harvey (murder of more than one person as part of the same act or transaction).[3]
    • Capital murder of Bryan Harvey, Kathryn Harvey, Stella Harvey, and Ruby Harvey (murder of more than one person within a three-year period). [3]
    • Capital murder of Ruby Harvey (murder of a four year old while 21 years of age or older).[3]
    • Capital murder of Stella Harvey (murder of a nine year old while 21 years of age or older).[3]
  • Current Location: Sussex I State Prison.[1]
  • Status: Petition for writ of certiorari challenging the Supreme Court of Virginia’s affirmation of death sentence denied.[4]
  • As of: January 14, 2008.[4]

Summary of crime:

From Gray v. Commonwealth [emphasis mine throughout]:

On the morning of January 1, 2006, Kathryn and Bryan Harvey and their two daughters, Stella and Ruby, were killed in the Harveys’ home in the City of Richmond. Firefighters, responding to a call that the Harveys’ home was burning, discovered the bodies of Kathryn and Ruby in the basement as they attempted to fight the fire. The house was filled with “black smoke” and the basement was burning and had “[z]ero visibility and a lot of heat.” Soon after the firefighters removed the bodies of Kathryn and Ruby from the basement, they determined that the bodies showed evidence of “battle signs” and that the victims’ legs had been bound. At that point the firefighters stopped their rescue efforts and summoned the police.

Detective Dwyer of the Richmond Police Department then discovered Stella in the basement under a futon “with her hands behind her back, tape around her mouth.” Bryan was discovered on the floor of the basement with orange electrical cord wrapped around his wrists and feet, with “melted tape around his face [and a] large wound to his neck area.” Detective Dwyer also found two claw hammers, two broken wine bottles, a knife handle and a separate knife blade in the basement. Those items, as well as several photographs of the scene, were admitted into evidence at trial.

An autopsy revealed that Bryan had been cut eight times in his neck and underneath his chin, and those wounds, although “[v]ery painful,” were not immediately fatal. His mouth had been gagged and taped. Six lacerations were made to the left side and back of Bryan’s skull, each caused by blows from a hammer. He experienced severe third degree burns to his skin. Bryan died from the wounds to his skull.

Kathryn had been cut three times in her neck and chest, once in her back, and those wounds caused bleeding and pain but were not fatal. Multiple lacerations were made to Kathryn’s skull as a result of blows from a hammer. The hammer blows caused a fracture to the plate above Kathryn’s eyes, resulting in bleeding behind her eyes. Kathryn died from the blunt force injuries to her head.

Ruby’s throat had been sliced through to her trachea, a wound that was not fatal but obstructed her breathing. Her head was also fractured and cut, causing brain tissue to exude from her skull. She had also been stabbed in the back with enough force that the knife had passed through her ribs and into her lungs. Ruby died from the blunt force injuries to her head and the stab injury to her lungs.

Stella’s neck had been cut six times, with the stab wounds having penetrated her trachea and esophagus. Stella’s head was also bludgeoned by a hammer, causing brain tissue to exude from her skull. She died from a combination of smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning and blunt force injury to her head.

Forensic evidence showed that the knife blade recovered from the Harveys’ home had traces of blood from Kathryn, Stella, Ruby and Bryan. Bryan and Stella’s DNA was discovered on the shaft of one of the recovered hammers. Kathryn’s DNA was identified on the handle of the other hammer.

Evidence at trial established that Gray, Ray Dandridge and Ashley Baskerville were driving the streets of Richmond in Gray’s van during the mid-morning of January 1, 2006 “looking for a house to rob.” Gray and Dandridge “spotted a door open” at the Harveys’ home, entered the house, and forced Kathryn, Bryan and Ruby into the basement.4 Stella was not home when Gray and Dandridge entered. In the basement, Gray assured the three family members that he and Dandridge would leave after they took what they wanted from the home. Gray then used electrical cords to tie Bryan’s wrists behind his back and bind his ankles together.

4 Gray claimed that Baskerville was asleep in the vehicle and did not participate in the crimes at the Harveys’ home.

Before Gray and Dandridge could plunder the house, they heard a noise upstairs on the home’s main level. Kiersten Perkinson, a family friend, had arrived at the Harveys’ home to deliver the Harveys’ daughter, Stella, along with Perkinson’s own daughter, Grace Lynn, from a slumber party the previous evening.

Hearing the commotion, Kathryn explained to Gray that her daughter had returned from a slumber party, so Gray permitted Kathryn to go upstairs to bring her daughter downstairs to the basement. Perkinson heard Kathryn “running up the stairs” from the basement, and upon reaching the top of the basement stairs, she appeared “pale and ashen.” Stella ran past her mother and down the stairs into the basement, but Kathryn blocked Grace Lynn’s path so she could not follow Stella downstairs. Kathryn told Perkinson that she did not feel well, so Perkinson and Grace Lynn left the house.

Downstairs, Gray bound the hands and feet of all the Harveys and placed clear packing tape over their mouths, but he assured them that everything would be okay. Gray and Dandridge then began collecting the items from the home they intended to steal. Kathryn attempted to comfort her distraught daughters, and she told Gray that he should take what he wanted and just leave. Suddenly, Gray took a razor knife and cut Kathryn’s throat and then cut the throats of the young girls and Bryan.5 When Gray saw that his victims were still moving, he took a nearby claw hammer and began repeatedly beating each of the Harveys in the head. When they stopped moving, Gray poured two bottles of wine on an easel in the basement and lit a match, starting the fire. Gray and Dandridge then left the burning home with the items they had stolen.

5 In his confession to police, Gray indicated that Dandridge “did the old man, cut him. But I’m not sure. But it doesn’t matter if he did or not cause he was still alive after, [un]til I hit him with [t]he hammer.”

John Hott, a family friend of the Harveys, arrived at the Harveys’ home for a New Year’s Day party at about 1:45 p.m. and noticed smoke coming from the house. He immediately ran to a neighbor’s home and called “911”.

Less than a week later, Richmond police received a tip that Gray was a suspect in the murders, and a member of the Richmond Police Department contacted the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Police Department requesting they investigate a location where Gray may be staying and to be on the lookout for a particular vehicle believed related to the Harvey murders. In the early morning hours of January 7, 2006, Philadelphia police obtained a search warrant, and a SWAT team entered the location where Gray was suspected to be staying and found him in the basement. Gray was arrested and advised of his Miranda rights. After learning that Dandridge was also being questioned, he asked the Philadelphia police: “Can I tell you my side of the story?”

As part of a signed confession, Gray described in detail how he and Dandridge entered the Harveys’ home and attacked the Harveys, in which he stated:

[I]t was a real nasty scene. How am I suppose[d] to explain something like what happened? I started cutting their throats and they kept getting up and they [were] scaring me. I remember seeing the hammer and picking it up, and then . . . I was just hitting them all with the hammer. All I know is nobody was moving when I left out there.

Gray admitted that Dandridge spent most of this time searching the home for items to steal, and that only Gray used the hammers to attack the Harveys.

Gray stipulated at trial that Bryan’s wedding ring, as well as a cookie plate and a basket from the Harveys’ home, were discovered in a location Gray provided to police, who also recovered from Gray a computer stolen from the Harveys’ home. Gray also stipulated that the boots found at the residence in Philadelphia belonged to him. Bryan and Stella’s blood stains were discovered on Gray’s boots. The Commonwealth also introduced photographs of the dead bodies as exhibits during the trial, and the jury was permitted to view these exhibits. At the time of the murders, Gray was twenty-eight years old. Ruby was four years old at the time of her death, and Stella was nine years old at the time of her death.

The jurors returned a verdict of guilty as to all five capital murder counts as charged in the indictments.

[…]

In the sentencing phase, the Commonwealth introduced evidence of Gray’s criminal record, including convictions for robbery in 1996, distribution of crack cocaine in 2000, and possession of cocaine in 2002. Extensive evidence was also presented to show a history of violent acts perpetrated by Gray.

Lieutenant Daniel Stanek of the City of Washington, Pennsylvania Police Department testified about the discovery of the dead body of Gray’s wife, Treva, on November 5, 2005. Gray was questioned at the time but was not arrested for her murder. After his arrest for the murders of the Harveys in January 2006, Gray also confessed to killing his wife with the help of Dandridge by bludgeoning her to death with a lead pipe.

Detective William Brerton of the Richmond Police Department described how, also on January 1, 2006, he learned of another set of murders committed in Richmond. Executing a search warrant, police discovered the dead bodies of Percyell Tucker, his wife, Mary, and Mary’s daughter, Ashley Baskerville6, all in their home. Dr. Darin Trelka, a medical examiner, testified that the autopsy revealed Percyell’s head had been “covered with Saran Wrap,” with a sock stuffed into his mouth and duct-taped shut. Percyell probably struggled for several minutes before he died from suffocation. Mary’s mouth had been gagged, with duct tape over her eyes. Her neck and chest had been cut four times. Mary struggled several minutes before she died from suffocation. Ashley was found with a plastic shopping bag over her head and taped to her neck with duct tape. Her face was wrapped in duct tape and a sock stuffed into her mouth. Ashley also struggled for several minutes before she died from suffocation.

6 Ashley Baskerville was the third person with Gray and Dandridge on January 1 when the Harveys were murdered. During Gray’s confession to the murder of the Tuckers, Gray explained how Ashley was working with Gray and Dandridge and provided them a key to enter the Tucker residence. “She was taped up as part of the plan.”

Gray’s vehicle was discovered three blocks from the Tucker’s home, and the Tucker’s stolen vehicle was located in Philadelphia where Gray was arrested. Gray confessed to murdering the Tucker family.

Police also learned that Gray assaulted a man in Arlington, Virginia on New Year’s Eve, 2005. At the sentencing phase of Gray’s trial, Ryan Carey testified that as he arrived at his parent’s home after work on December 31, he was attacked by two men. He was forced to the ground and stabbed multiple times. Carey escaped the assault and rushed to his father’s home covered in blood. Carey’s father contacted emergency personnel, who took Carey to a hospital where his condition was stabilized. After two months of hospitalization, Carey was able to return home, although he lost the use of his right arm. Gray confessed to assaulting Carey with Dandridge’s assistance and stipulated that Carey’s blood was found on Gray’s boots.

Also testifying at the penalty phase of the trial were Mark Harvey, Bryan’s older brother, and Steven Culp, Kathryn’s older brother. Each described a loving relationship with their sibling and the devastating grief and emotional impact of the murders upon the extended families.[5]

  1. “Offender Locator.” Virginia Department of Corrections 11 Oct. 2010. <http://www.vadoc.state.va.us/offenders/locator/index.cfm>. [] [] []
  2. Gray v. Commonwealth, 274 Va. 290, 645 S.E.2d 448 (2007), cert. denied, Gray v. Virginia, 552 U.S. 1151, 128 S. Ct. 1111, 169 L. Ed. 2d 826 (2008). []
  3. Gray v. Commonwealth, 274 Va. 290, 291, 645 S.E.2d 448, 451 (2007), cert. denied, Gray v. Virginia, 552 U.S. 1151, 128 S. Ct. 1111, 169 L. Ed. 2d 826 (2008). [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []
  4. Gray v. Virginia, 552 U.S. 1151, 128 S. Ct. 1111, 169 L. Ed. 2d 826 (2008). [] []
  5. Gray v. Commonwealth, 274 Va. 290, 295-302, 645 S.E.2d 448, 452-456 (2007), cert. denied, Gray v. Virginia, 552 U.S. 1151, 128 S. Ct. 1111, 169 L. Ed. 2d 826 (2008). []

114 Comments

  1. AL says:

    They should carry out the execution in an extended manner for a duration of at least the aggregate number of the time it took for all of the victims took to expire !

  2. [deleted] says:

    [Comment deleted due to racist remarks.]

    • NLM says:

      So, is it fair to assume that a racist like you would have invited Ted Bundy to your home for dinner-!!!!

      • Nwilson says:

        Wow so this has to be turned into a black or white thing?? Of course because blacks are the only race that commit murder or the only criminals period!!

        • Shantel says:

          Unfortunately, a lot of white people want to believe that only black people murder and commit crimes. It’s almost like they live in a different world or are on vacation or something when white people commit heinous crimes. Then you have those who give excuses as to why a particular white person has committed the crime and then so justify it. Once that’s done they sweep it under the rug as if it never even happened….talk about “look the other way”.

    • Stefanie says:

      Liz, I am assuming you are white??? I am also white, but your black comment is pretty messed up!!! I’m also assuming you voted for Trump based on that stupid comment!!! I can name a few hundred white serial killers that should have been looked at harder (although there are thousands)!!! Black, white, they are all burning in hell

      • Sam says:

        I voted for trump- I’m not white, doesn’t mean ur a bigot. Idk what trump or voting for him had to do with this animal killing innocent people. Seems to be he could be Samoan and still would deserve a firing squad

        • TT says:

          Thank you! I’m so tired of people saying Trump is racists and you must be too if you voted for him, that is only a lie told by democrats to get people’s vote.
          Now back to the subject, Gray was a very evil heartless person. I’m glad he is gone for good. Bleeding hearts need to stop worrying about if he suffered because we know for damn sure his victims did.

    • Tt says:

      But its ok for white officers to beat the hell out of our kids or kill the parents in the front of them? Apparently you have a issue with black people and you need to let it go it should be the other way around. Racism only gets you killed then you hiding behind a phone or computer talking shit wishing u could ride a black dick This shouldnt have anything to do with race its about the grieving family u dummy

      • Shantel says:

        If she hasn’t already I’m sure she will end up screwing a black man because that’s what they do.

      • TT says:

        Totally agree with you except isn’t bringing up only white officers also being racists? Also if you look at the facts in MOST of those cases and I mean all the facts not just the facts the media reports the officers were in the right. Now let’s stop allowing ignorant people to insight more ignorance.

    • Sam says:

      Ur a racist for real. What kind of statement is that?

    • mada says:

      i am glad he’s dead the world didn’t need him but what does color has to do with it?? What did you say when those white boys killed those kids at Sandy Hook or at Columbine? Troubled kids right? must be nice to have one set or excuses are racism for one group but something else when the shooter or killer looks like your kids. Remember most serial killers are white

      • Shantel says:

        Well said. I just said something similar above. But yea, they have blinders on when their people are doing the killing. It’s always justified and excusable. That’s why all these police officers are getting off because the judges are white.

    • Lynda says:

      As a white person, I am so offended by this comment! I don’t even agree with you that he is animal, as an animal is better than him. He is a monster. And how can you say that most blacks are violent criminals? A persons skin color does not make them bad. There is good and bad in all races. Whites don’t commit violent crimes? How about, Joseph Franklin, Jared Loughner, James Holmes, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacey, Jeffry Dahmer, Charles Manson and the Manson family? I could keep on. The only thing I can agree with you on, is that we need to protect people from the Ricky Grays of the world. And not because he was black, but because he was just a monster!

      • Shantel says:

        Lynda, this is the first time I have ever read an honest comment like this on this type of subject coming from someone white. Thank you.

        • Lynda says:

          Hi Shantel, Thanks! I appreciate that you appreciated my comment. But I find it hard to believe that this is the first time you have ever read a comment like mine on this type of subject coming from someone white. You know that can’t be true, just as much as all blacks commit violent crimes isn’t true! STOP THE INSANITY! I know I’m not the only white who knows better than to believe that violent crimes are only committed by blacks. And any white that believes it, is an idiot! Facts are facts, just as history is history, none of which can be changed. In my above post, I mentioned only a drop in the bucket of whites who have committed evil, violent crimes. No race is bad. People are bad, and there are bad people in all races. We all have to stop pointing the finger. As a mother I too was heartbroken what happened to those Harvey girls. Just as I was also heartbroken by the death of Trayvon Martin. I did not see color in either situation, only innocent children. We are all people, and there is good and bad in all people. Not all blacks commit violent crimes, and not all whites are racists! There will be a quiz tomorrow! Please study! lol

    • Shantel says:

      Liz. Liz. Liz. You ignorant, uneducated, and racist girl. Speaking of 4th and 5th generations, I’m going to assume that you come from generations of the KKK who are in fact animals for killing only a specific and single race and believe that it’s ok to do so. I guess your KKK family is full of welfare recipients. You sound really stupid.

    • Really says:

      To say that blacks are barbaric is insane….Jeffery Dohmer was white and he killed blacks and ate them…..calling a black person a nigger will spark rage…but what about the rage that the whites have that hung, rapped and murdered blacks in the 1800’s? Regardless of the color murder is wrong! I am so tired of white America pulling the race card and then say….there is no racism in America! Please spare me the bullshit!Mr Mason another serial killer that was white! The devil will use anyone regardless of his color to do his dirty work! If you checked your facts you would see there are more whites on welfare than blacks…proven facts…..why they are demanding welfare reform…..whats funny to me….how ignorant some americans are but you are quick to call a black person a nigger…..when the nigger is really you! Be Blessed and spread love not hate…..how would you feel when you meet Jesus for the first time and see that He is indeed what you were programed to hate?

  3. Robert says:

    Because our government and law enforcement are hampered by the very laws that they create I support vigilantism I cases like this. When someone such as these two are convicted without doubt I would support the systematic hunting and execution the individuals. If the group was properly funded locating and executing the individuals would not be an issue. If I only had the funding. May the deaths of these two individuals be as painful as I envision.

  4. N says:

    This fool has enough nerve to be challenging the execution process. ALL his victims suffered. Why should he suffer any less. I hope his execution is painful as he!1

  5. [deleted] says:

    [Comment deleted due to racist remarks.]

    • Tt says:

      Thats how i feel about trump you trash….. your calling names and why oh because he killed white people? If he had only killed black people there wouldnt be anything said now would it. You calling someone a nigger shows how ignorant your ass is…. yea he deserves the death penalty because those poor kids and there parents who did nothing wrong at all lives were ended. Just sad but all black people are not bad people and it could of been a white person to do the same thing. You should look at all the white men who rape and kill young women but i guess thats fine? But at the end of the day i would love to see you call a black a nigger to there face so i can see how they kill or maybe hang ur dumb ass…. bitch

  6. Joe lewy says:

    Kill the cunt slowly

  7. Pnutbutta says:

    Wow…why can’t people just be CRAZY AS HELL?..why does color have to be brought up??? Because people hate each other because of the color of their skin, things will never change. THERE ARE CRAZY AZZ FOLK IN ALL COLORS–CRAZY DOES NOT HAVE A COLOR!!!

  8. Bobby A says:

    This guy and his partner were sadistic maniacs. The level of deviancy and the manner they killed these people particularly those little girls is just incomprehensible!

    As far as the white /black issue ?? It’s not an issue at all. These guys are psychopaths in the same light as Dahmer, Manson, Ramirez, Bundy, Gacy. Just cold, unemphatic, ruthless monsters.

    They are not human beings rather some form of alien creature and should be wiped off the planet, imo

  9. D Brown says:

    I have the same glee that Gray was executed as has been expressed, but I must recognize that this comes from the very same place of darkness that he indulged with his justification (“the world has been nasty to me so it’s fair that I strike back at it”).

  10. Mcaciseni K says:

    I am a South African, this is just terrible, I can not imagine what those two young girls and their parents went through, what kind of a human being who can committee such a reign of terror. Regardless of the color this guy is a monster, he is where other monster’s like him belong. I am a father too of a daughter and two boys, I can not imagine what the Harvey family went through. May they rest in peace.

  11. Poor souls says:

    May you all remember at the day of judgment day.You can’t run.BLACK,White etc..You better worry about what God has in store for us all.Look at you ..Read your bible.Some of you wouldn’t talk with such filt. God is the Only one that can judge you.

    • Tom says:

      Poor soul. True, only God can judge. In the mean time we are all here on this planet to live our lives as best we can. If there are sickos that decide to murder and kill for whatever the reason it is up to us to deal with them here in this world. God is not going to deal with them here, it is up to us who are here. Those who defend and protect the murderers are as bad as the murderers themselves. Letting convicted killers back onto the street is wrong. These murderers need to go and pass from this world into the next.

  12. Tom says:

    I used to question the death penalty but no longer. Convicted murderers would be all be executed by two gun shots to the back of the head. Quick, efficient and cheap.

  13. Shantel says:

    I am black and it hurt my heart to read what these demons did to those people. Not just the white family, but the black family and that young man as well. As a mother of 2 I can only imagine what was going through that (white) mom’s mind when she blocked her friend’s daughter from going down to that basement and sending them away. She saved their lives! It hurts that she believed those monsters would make good on their word. I wish she could have given her friend a whisper or a sign to get police but I was not there and cant imagine everything going through her mind to keep her family safe. One thing that I am glad about is that they are all together and no one is suffering. The girl that was with those monsters…I don’t want to say she got what she deserved, but she was stupid to get connected with those monsters and give them access to her family…now she’s dead too…bet she wished she could have taken it all back.

  14. Iced Tea says:

    Blacks will kill or hang you if you call them niggers? How barbaric is that?!

  15. [deleted] says:

    [Comment deleted due to racist remark.]

  16. Kay says:

    People worry about all the wrong stuff rather white black blue or pink families were killed. Gray paid the price with his life its over!!! God is clearly not blogging he is the only one who can judge. How can any man say he loves god who he has never seen but cannot love someone with black skin like me. Better get right with the man upstairs

  17. Peggy thomas says:

    The family members of Gray should be on the chopping block. They turned him into this monster with sexual abuse and physical abuse for years and years.

  18. Bill says:

    This man Gray is the ultimate evil and menace to a society. Public hanging would be more than appropriate in this case. Lethal injection is too easy for an arch criminal as he.

  19. tee says:

    Ricky Gray is dead. Nothing else matters! He could have been purple…he is DEAD….finally!

  20. Michelle Cummings says:

    Oh but that would be cruel right??

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